News: Facebook's F8 Badge Shows Developers It's Serious About Augmented Reality

Facebook's F8 Badge Shows Developers It's Serious About Augmented Reality

Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges! That is, unless they have augmented reality content embedded in them and give us full access to Facebook's annual F8 developers conference — in that case, yes, we'll take all the badges.

The event kicked off on Tuesday, and continued on Wednesday with another keynote speech speech and even more developer meetings and information. But enough of that, we're here to talk about AR badges.

Taking a cue from Samsung, F8 attendees can scan their badges and the conference's banners hung within the venue to unveil event-specific AR content.

Images by @Blake_Jakely/Twitter

Based on videos shared through Facebook and Twitter, scanning the badge gives attendees access to a 3D map of the conference venue, making a traditional, printed map completely unnecessary.

Meanwhile, scanning the conference's banners calls up an interactive puzzle. After spinning the jumbled letters that appear on screen, the conference's theme is revealed.

While this is a neat little trick that adds a fun, new layer of engagement, it also reinforces an important message that Facebook wants to send to the developer community: that Facebook is just as serious about mobile AR as Apple, Google, and Snapchat.

That may not have been as evident this year as it was last year, at least based on Tuesday's keynote. Last year, AR led the keynote and was the dominant theme of the conference. This year, the company was compelled to lead with the theme of user privacy as it continues to address the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica crisis.

Additionally, AR competed for airtime among Facebook's ambitions for video chat, dating services, and VR. When Facebook did talk about AR, it was more along the lines of iterative updates, such as extending its Camera AR platform to Instagram and Messenger and adding new capabilities to AR Studio.

Images by Nava Berg/Facebook

So, in case AR got lost in the shuffle, this practical application of the technology reminds developers that they have support from Facebook for their mobile AR ambitions.

And this small but powerful AR implementation also ups the ante for other tech conferences. Perhaps Apple or Google will now add AR navigation to their upcoming developer conferences?

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Cover image via Facebook

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